Birdwatching in Iowa

Birdwatching in Iowa

A Day of Birdwatching in Rural Southwest Iowa by Phyllis Davis

This is part two and follows on from Birding in Iowa part one

…I head through the Loess Bluffs and down into the river valley of the Missouri to continue my Birdwatching in Iowa 

Forney’s Lake State Wildlife Management Area is my next destination. There are a plethora of birds that inhabit this area.  I inch down the gravel road scanning the lake and shoreline for my next subject.

A squadron of pelicans are on the far side of the lake and numerous American coots, northern shovelers, blue and green-winged teal, and pied billed grebes  navigate the thick reeds searching for any delicious morsels to enjoy.

American coots seen while birdwatching in Iowa  on birdingplanet.com
Northern Shovelers

As I am focused on the birds close at hand, a brilliant white bird sails gracefully overhead. A Great Egret! My heart begins to race at the possibility of there being more birds where that one had come from.

Sure enough, as I get to the next clearing, I see a congregation of egrets peacefully sunning themselves in the shallow water. What a find!

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Heading east, back into the Loess Bluffs, I have quite a scare! Suddenly, a Wild Turkey flies out of the ditch to the left of me, over my SUV into the ditch on the other side of the road. Boy do they make a ruckus when they take off!  

wild turkey  on birdingplanet.com
wild turkey

After that excitement, I arrive at Waubonsie State Park. Walking down a footpath, I hear high pitched trills and look up to see a museum of Cedar Waxwings perched in an old sycamore tree. Beauties!!!

cedar waxwing seen while birdwatching in Iowa on birdingplanet.com
Cedar Waxwing

After snapping a few shots, I continue along the path and a Hermit Thrush lands on a low branch ahead of me.

hermit thrush seen while birdwatching in Iowa  on birdingplanet.com
Hermit Thrush

This path is full of feathered friends. A chipping sparrow and a very acrobatic male Downy Woodpecker also make their appearance.

downy woodpecker seen while birdwatching in Iowa  on birdingplanet.com
downy woodpecker

As I turn around to continue my hike, a brilliant blue blur flies past me and lands on a thorny locust branch. A male Eastern Blue Bird poses beautifully and I excitedly press the shutter button on my trusty camera to capture this awesome jewel. How could my day get any better I ask?

male eastern blue bird seen while birdwatching in Iowa  on  birdingplanet.com

While driving out of the park, I pass a little ramshackle bird house and who do you suppose is peaking out, Mrs. Blue bird of course! I think she is wishing me a fond farewell. 

female eastern blue bird on birdingplanet.com

What a wonderful way to end a very successful day of birdwatching in Iowa!

All the photos above are taken by the author.

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About by Phyllis Davis, who is a member of the Birding Planet Facebook group I am a recently retired elementary school teacher of 32 years. I now enjoy working part time at a veterinary hospital in a nearby town. I guess I traded 2 legged creatures for 4 legged ones.  I have three grown children and 2 grandchildren (more on the way) that all live in the area. My husband, who is often recruited as my birding chauffeur, live in  beautiful rural southwest Iowa. I began my love for photography when my kids were participating in sports. My subjects have changed over the years, but my passion for photography has only grown. In fact, my kids often ask if my camera is permanently attached to me. I absolutely love that I can get out and enjoy nature at its best. 

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